How to Make the Nordic Region Carbon-Neutral

The IEA has started a new regional technology study that helps determine the best way to make the Nordic region carbon-neutral by 2050. According to the research, around 3,000 offshore wind turbines will need to be in use in the region in order for success.

It is possible for the Nordic region to be completely carbon-neutral, but big changes in its energy sector will need to take place first. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has reported in the first regional edition of its flagship technology publication, Energy Technology Perspectives, that these changes include a ten-fold increase in wind generation and an end to all use of coal and significant electrification of transport.

The new report expands on the Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 global scenarios for energy policies that would limit average global temperature increase to 2°C. Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives outlines the opportunities and challenges for the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway – a major fossil fuel exporter – and Sweden to use their rich renewable energy resources to transform their landscape and economy, with 10,000 onshore and 3,000 offshore wind turbines and the region exporting 75% of its new power generation.

In order to become carbon-neutral, emissions from transportation must fall by nearly 90% from current levels, with nine in ten new light vehicles in 2050 being pure electric or hybrid and most freight transport going by rail or running on biofuels. The transportation sector will be the hardest to decarbonize due to the sparse population of the trade-intensive Nordic countries, but transportation costs should not rise significantly as reduced demand and higher efficiency will lower fuel bills.